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Published: Friday, 5/7/2010

Driver faces charges in illegal-alien case

A driver who allegedly fled the U.S. Border Patrol on the Ohio Turnpike is charged with felony unlawful transport and endangerment of an illegal alien.

Antonio Cervantes-Peralta, 21, of Puebla, Mexico, was held yesterday in the Seneca County jail. He is likely to appear in U.S. District Court in Toledo this week, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bauer said.

Mr. Cervantes-Peralta was charged Wednesday in an April 25 incident that began when he failed to stop for a Border Patrol agent attempting a traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike.

The suspect was behind the wheel of a van, westbound on the Ohio Turnpike near the Elmore exit, when a Border Patrol agent noticed "road-rage characteristics" in a construction zone. The agent found several individuals listed as the owner of the vehicle during a check of the Arizona license plate. The vehicle failed to stop for the agent's lights and sirens about 7:30 p.m. and continued westbound until out of sight, a Border Patrol spokesman said.

The van went off the highway about 45 miles west, near Delta, and Mr. Cervantes-Peralta fled on foot, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

His passenger, Carlos Chavez-Martinez, 25, also of Puebla, Mexico, will face deportation but will not be charged, Mr. Bauer said.

If convicted, Mr. Cervantes-Peralta could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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